Subject: Re: OVPL and open ownership
From: David Barrett <>
Date: Mon, 25 Jul 2005 13:04:53 -0700

Wilson, Andrew wrote:
> I don't see how you could have a single file which contains both
> "with section 3.3" code and "without section 3.3" code. So, when 3.3
> is removed, there is no chance of ever integrating the resultant
> variant with the ID's version (which presumably has 3.3 in place).  A
> licensing scheme which promotes irrevocable forking doesn't sound
> very good to me.

I agree, irrecoverable forking is certainly something to avoid.  I 
assumed the OVPL would be written to allow code with and without section 
3.3 to co-exist in the same project.  The natural restriction would be 
that only forks with pure-3.3 code would allow the ID to make 
proprietary derivatives.  (So in effect, a disgruntled community could 
include ID code in their fork, but the ID couldn't include 
disgruntled-community code in his fork without giving up his ID privilege.)

Regardless, my updated proposal would be to have contributions 
optionally be submitted under BSD, so this problem is avoided entirely.

(My concern here, however, is how reliably we can count on courts 
upholding "partial file licensing".  At worst, a court might argue that 
a file can only have one license, and because the OVPL grants the right 
to release modifications under a different license, then that means it's 
legally valid to release the whole file under that license.  This opens 
the door to simply re-licensing the entire project.  This is why I 
originally proposed just the option of relicensing without 3.3, as in 
the worst case, it means everyone can get a non-3.3 version (bad, but 
doesn't undermine my business model). If the courts rule against 
partial-file licensing, and if we've granted the right to contribute 
under BSD, it might inadvertently allow anyone to relicense the entire 
project under BSD, which would undermine my business model, and thus be 
very bad.)